The right to take part in cultural life is – and shall be
recognised as being – pivotal to the system of human rights. Those
deprived of this right also lose the opportunity to exercise their
other rights responsibly, through lack of awareness of the fullness
of their identity. Moreover, access to the arts and free artistic
and cultural expression contribute to the development of critical
thinking, to enhanced mutual understanding and to mutual respect.
Thus, they contribute to reinforcing democratic citizenship and
social cohesion, a “harmonious living together” and peace between
The state should not only ensure a wide supply of cultural
services but also play the role of initiator, promoter and regulator
of interaction between public institutions and organisations in
the non-profit and private sectors which contribute to the promotion
of artistic creative endeavour and to public access to the full
range of cultural and artistic resources. Young people deserve special
attention as they are a key means of transmitting cultural resources
and values. There is a need to motivate them and to cultivate amongst
them the “desire for culture”, by promoting ground-breaking initiatives
and raising the profile of any practices that create cultural, social
and political bonds.
The guidelines proposed should inspire national policies aimed
at supporting access to culture and artistic creative endeavour.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe should formally
endorse these guidelines and consider what could be done to facilitate
co-ordinated political action at European level in this field.